Performance does suffer a tiny bit because this is a hybrid (I say this most likely because I had a V6 car before), but it is meant to be a quiet, smooth sedan that provides plenty of luxury and superior comfort. You simply can't ask for a car that has V6 performance, a luxury badge, 40MPG AND an MSRP just above $40K. The car does provide instant acceleration because of the continuously variable transmission, which I am a big fan of. Step on the gas pedal and the feel is instantaneous, unlike a traditional automatic that has to constantly shift gears to get optimal performance. CVT is hated by many people because they think it is boring, not performance-oriented and can be very noisy. However, the CVT on this Lexus is nothing like this. The car's sound insulation is superior, you can barely hear the engine at all during normal driving, city or highway. It is also what helps the car gets the gas mileage because of reduced parts and better efficiency. Without even trying (as I said I had a V6 car before, so I don't drive very gently), I easily get at least 38+ MPG, sometimes even better (40-42 MPG), whether on the highway or in heavy traffic during rush hours, and I think this is really amazing. For my previous V6, in heavy traffic gas mileage easily falls below 15 MPG, especially for shorter trips. I had to frequently go to gas station every few days because the engine wastes too much gas when idling or starting/stopping in city traffic. This hybrid car however shuts off the gas completely when coming to a stop or driving at low speeds, and the car runs on the battery entirely. The result is extreme quietness and you won't feel the car's vibration when waiting for the light at an intersection. To me, I would even say the city traffic is now not as bad thanks to the car's advanced hybrid technology and superior sound insulation. I now seriously question myself why I spent the extra $$$ to get a V6, not needing the extra power, and spending more $$$ on premium gas that was not used to generate that power but was wasted. I am saying all of these probably because I have never driven a hybrid before and I don't really know how other hybrids drive, but I doubt the level of comfort, performance, efficiency will be comparable to these of ES300h. What's even better with this car is that it only requires regular (87 octane rating) gas. Also, the front seats are extremely comfortable and with the perforated seats and the safety features, so this is not just a getting-from-A-to-B commute sedan but will also be a nice place to spend time in if you are traveling for longer distances. There are interior cosmetic changes over the 2015 model - and I would say the steering wheel, dash and the gear knob look way better than the previous generation. Overall the interior is just elegant and beautiful. I would definitely recommend this car to anyone who is looking to buy a reasonably priced, entry-level luxury sedan that combines reasonable performance and gas efficiency. Lexus offers a longer warranty, one full year of complementary maintenance, and with its reputable long-term reliability the car should provide a worry-free, enjoyable driving experience.
This is my second ES300h, and it's even better than the first. The additional sound proofing and quietness are immediately noticeable. I have the Blind Side Monitoring and the Lexus Safety System Plus packages and they significantly improve the driving experience. When I got the car, it had 10 miles on the odometer and a full tank of gas. I drove it 18 miles to get it home and the instrument panel MPG readout was 24.7. That was NOT acceptable so I implemented my 2013 ES300h technique for mileage improvement. I put in 1.5 to 2.0 gallons of PREMIUM grade gas at every fill-up and increased, and rigorously maintain, 35 psi tire pressure. I measure the pressure alt least once a month, first thing in the morning, when the tires are cold. I took those actions with the new car. As expected, my mileage went from 24.7 to between 39.8 to 43.2 mpg in mixed city/highway driving!! I am very pleased, There is only downside I've encountered and change I wish they would have made -- there isn't enough storage space readily accessible to the driver. There isn't tray in which to put miscellaneous things I don't want to keep in my pockets when sitting in the car. The result is that I have to use the cup holders for my wallet, keys, sun glasses, coins and flip cell phone.
I have had my 2016 ES300h for 2 months. I really like the outside styling and the interior is luxurious and very comfortable. I am getting very good gas mileage. Acceleration in power mode is very good, but I don't use it that often, preferring to get better fuel economy. I find the ride to be very smooth and quiet. The safety features are terrific. In general I love the car, but here are some issues that have disappointed me. 1. The Sirius/XM satellite radio reception is TERRIBLE?music fades out every day, this makes me wish I had a different car. I had sirius/xm reset the signal but that did not help. July 15 2016 update: I took the car in to Lexus of Austin to research the audio problems described in #1 and #2 above. The service rep said it is a problem recognized by Lexus that affects a few (random) vehicles across all the Lexus models but they do not know how to fix it. It is weak reception signal that causes dead spots and also lack of HD reception which causes some stations to sound very bad, while other stations sound full and rich. They informed me it could be many months before the issue might be fixed. They recommended that I contact Lexus USA customer service to file the issue. I ended up putting Spoify on my iPhone and cancelling my Sirius/XM subscription. 2. The radio equalizer balance changes dramatically from station to station.?sound is better than the standard audio system but not worth the $2,500 I paid for the Mark Levinson upgrade. This is very disappointing. 3. Voice recognition is not good, making it difficult to enter destinations into the Nav system. I would prefer Apple Play. 4. Nav system directions (by Tom Tom) are not good compared to google maps or garmin devices. I would prefer Apple Play. 5. Using google maps on my iPhone requires changing from radio to bluetooth in order to hear the driving directions though the car's speakers. It would be more intuitive if the phone directions would override the radio. Update: I found a setting in Google maps to solve this problem. 6. Climate control defaults to ?recirculating? air instead of fresh air from outside: this is INSANE: I have to press the climate control button twice every time I drive the car just to get fresh air! This seems like a major design flaw. Update: The experts at the Lexus dealer had no knowledge of this issue. After a year I realized this is a system default that cannot be changed, but applies ONLY when the outside temperature indicates that the A/C should be on....in other words, this problem does not happen in the winter. Still crazy, because I also don't like to suffocate (by default) in the summer! 7. No good place to mount my cell phone (air vents are too recessed to use normal air-vent clips) Update: I found a magnetic cell phone mount for $11.00 that screws into the CD slot. This solved my issue. 8. Limited storage: Front side door storage bins should include a cup holder, but they don't 9. Limited storage: The front cup holder along center console is TOO far back to reach with a normal arm position 10. Limited storage: No small compartment for sunglasses Update: I bought a visor clip for my sunglasses. Not as elegant, but it works. I bought this car because I wanted a hybrid. My last car was an Acura TL. I would have bought a TL hybrid if one existed. The Acura did not have any problems with satellite radio reception, defaulted climate control to FRESH air (what a concept)!, and had more storage compartments (for cups and sunglasses and cell phones). January 2018 update: I've now owned this ES300h for 1.5 years. I don't regret it. I found work-arounds for most of the issues listed above. I get compliments from friends and strangers about this car.....about it's beauty, styling and luxuriousness.
If you are looking for a quiet car with luxury features and good gas mileage this is the car for you. Driven carefully you can get 42 MPG around town. I only have 1100 miles on the car and first trip on the freeway at 75MPH caused the indicated mileage to drop to 36MPG. Complaints: trunk is rather small but adequate, no cubby hole space to store things except in doors. Console should have more storage as well. One glove compartment- which is pretty much filled with the 5-6 volume instruction manuals. However, thanks for the manuals - much better than a CD/DVD that I cannot look at if I have a question when I am on the road. One complaint on the mouse system- it has three ways to select something (2-side buttons or push down on the joystick - it needs one button programmed to go-back instead of me having to select the go-back icon on the screen which is time consuming. It is a fairly long car but will be a good compromise car for trips on the road for comfort and town car for good gas mileage. I bought the Ultra-Lux package, which has the cooled softer leather seats, plus rear and side sun shades plus the Mark Levinson sound which I feel was worth the extra $2-3000.
I test drove the 300h with the tech package. I liked all of the tech features. I really wanted to like everything about the car. I test drove an es350 several years ago and was impressed. However, the 300h that I test drove did not have a smooth ride. There was also an excessive amount of wind noise. Maybe I drove a lemon ? I wound up buying a Hyundai hybrid limited. The interior was not quite as nice, but it was quieter and had a smoother ride.